Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- July 2, 2011
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance. Psalm 33:12
Prosperity may be the result of a God-fearing nation, but it is not the cause. People believe in God when they get enough of themselves and realize there has to be more to this life than simply meeting their every need. God blesses a nation when individuals gather corporately in vibrant Christian worship; and the church is God’s means to awaken a nation. Nations who try to control the church lose God’s blessing. God’s blessing cannot be governed. Every time government intercedes to manage faith, the faithful become more marginalized.
Countries that restrict church competition and rely on a state-church monopoly miss the mark. The church is meant to be released to restore the ravished character of culture. Christians are “salt and light” (Matthew 5:13-14) in the midst of decayed and darkened nations. When believers gather together in a bond of love, they create a thirst for righteousness and shed light on the ways of the Lord.
Wise nations encourage competition among churches. Freedom of religion feeds faithfulness in God. God expects His church to grow and engage with the culture. This is how He changes a nation. When countries have church choices, they can compare what is best for their families. A church that drifts into irrelevance and isolation is of little concern to Satan. He wants religion to come across as ambiguous and antiquated. Churches that are alive and well serve a mighty and compassionate Christ.
These types of trusting institutions make a difference in their communities. A church that is alive and growing becomes a catalyst for good things. Indeed, God blesses nations where the church is allowed to compete. Stewardship trumps entitlement. Sick churches are not kept alive by outside funding. They either change or close. God blesses nations when His bride’s worship is alive, engaging, and relevant.
Therefore, avoid churches where membership is just a status symbol. Attend church where God is loved and feared, and worship where you see the Lord high and lifted up. Soak up the teachings of the Bible that transform your life. Band together with a group of believers who are disciples and who disciple others in the faith. Choose a body of believers where the character lessons you teach your children at home converge with their small group lessons on Sunday. If church is not working for you, then pray to find one that works best in this season of life.
God blesses nations who humbly seek Him. “…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Taken from the July 4th reading in the 365-day devotional, Seeking Daily the Heart of God
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